Discourses of collaborative failure: identity, role and discourse in an interdisciplinary world



Discourses of interdisciplinary health-care are becoming more centralised in the context of global healthcare practices, which are increasingly based on multisystem interventions. As with all dominant discourses that are narrated into being, many others have been silenced and decentralised in the process. While questions of the nature and constituents of interdisciplinary practices continue to be debated and rehearsed, this paper focuses on the discourse of interdisciplinary collaboration using psychiatry as an example, with the aim of highlighting competing and alternative discourses. The fundamental premise of this paper is that collaborative relationships form the basis of interdisciplinary practices in psychiatry. Through a critical engagement and a deconstructive reading of the pretext, context and subtexts of interdisciplinarity, we interrogate the concept of interdisciplinary practice within psychiatry. We contend that an important part of understanding and further conceptualising the discourse is through fracturing it. This process is illustrated in the successive stages of our conceptual map of discourse development: establishing, maintaining and developing discourses. An understanding of interdisciplinary practice is not only critical for psychiatry, but also offers important insights into the performance of collaborative failures and indeed successes across nursing and allied health professions.